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Lexer you scooped me on the ram ranch joke I had ready to go for a week 😭

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EIGHTEEN NAKED FURRIES IN THE SHOWERS AT UNICORN RANCH

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EIGHTEEN MORE WILD FURRIES OUT IN THE YERD

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I don't get it. Why didn't they just send the goats over to Katie?

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So back in 1969-70 I was brought to a hippie commune ranch by my father who was in a cult. As a child, I was horrified by what I saw--chaos, drug use, drama. The local news media covered the commune as a threat--noting the fire that burned down the main building, and the drowning deaths of two young girls (who I knew) because no one was around to pull them out of a fetid swimming pool. The health department finally shut down the ranch. The hippies were outraged, complained of being targeted and persecuted. But the health department was correct--and I knew it.

Now, contrast that coverage with the Unicorn Ranch coverage. A subculture is lionized, mentally fragile people are held up as paragons, and living beings that cannot fend for themselves are harmed. Ah, but they fit the narrative, is that it?

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Mar 4, 2023·edited Mar 4, 2023

I think the ideas that Yglesias was saying is accurate. I’m a female therapist who is on the left and works in academia so like I see a bunch of shit. What I find is that when you push up against trigger warnings, people get really really angry, even though trigger warnings are often just ways of avoidance that makes trauma symptoms linger longer.

I also know people who have really ruined a lot of parts of their lives just because they’re not willing to think about what they could do to make their lives better when they suffer from depression or panic. They get really into avoidance and that’s such a bad tactic. It’s not just about CBT but it’s just basic behavioral understanding how you deal with things like phobias and anxiety. And what’s hard is that people like that start self selecting people who reinforce their ideas about being sick and unable to get better. So if you even push back against basic stuff, you’re just gonna get attacked, so I just don’t engage with them anymore.

I’m a very psychodynamically oriented therapist, but I do focus a lot on how important it is to like get out of bed and start setting goals for yourself while also not catastrophizing. But however, that kind of practical stuff it’s not very performative, and I think some people are really invested in performance or they are just scared to admit that they might’ve inflicted some of their problems on themselves.

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I have a 20 year old daughter and I wonder if a BIG contributing factor to the depression is that these kids are basically taught to hate themselves (if they're white, anyway). My daughter has stopped listening to favorite artists because of things they've been cancelled for (of varying degrees of seriousness, some absolutely frivolous in my opinion) and when I asked her about it (maybe 5 years ago or so), along the lines of "we all say dumb stuff, can't we forgive others for it", the impression I got was, "no, we absolutely cannot forgive it and if I mess up, I won't deserve forgiveness either". It struck me as an absolutely depressing way to live, and it only seems worse now. It's depressing to me too, as a mom, to see it and feel powerless to change it.

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People have mentioned that modern wokeness has the shame of traditional Christianity without the promise of forgiveness and more and more I think they are correct.

Catholicism is notorious for causing guilt. Catholicism without confession and forgiveness is evidently Hell.

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Yeah. Like one thing you got to give the Catholics...if you just came on in and did some Hail Mary's it was a clean slate and you had a whole new week of bacchanalian debauchery ahead of you before the guilt piled up enough to get you in the door on Sunday for another round.

I mean the pinnacle of drunken lechery, Mardi Gras, is a Catholic holiday.....and the whole point is to get your sin on before you can wipe it away on Ash Wednesday.

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Was that John McWhorter?

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I first heard about about white privilege about 10 years ago and it made sense. But the way it is used now seems designed to help no one and to make white people feel like shit.

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There's the racial component and other downer narratives (radical environmentalism basically posits all human activity as anathema), but alongside it there's also a relentless diminution of accomplishment. Statues of the founding fathers come down, universities abandon admission for the smartest in favor of diversity quotas, people are given money for nothing but those who work get screwed over. Why would anyone try to better themselves?

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This. I was surprised this elephant in the room wasn't observed by J&K. At this point, I'm pretty sure the self-loathing and paranoia extends far beyond the white kids; the war on the n-word has made a lot of old rap (some of which, for all its antisocial effects, is fun and in its way encouraging) unlistenable in good company, unless it's monoracially black but even then it's not fun to constantly be looking over your shoulders. And the climate doom viewpoint is basically telling people that they are a pest on the planet, regardless of their race.

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I've always found comfort in the idea that my problems might be self-inflicted because if I can cause them then I can probably also fix them. I think a lot of people don't want to be fixed because then they might lose an identity they're very attached to, and without it they'd feel lost or lonely or like they're no longer able to legitimately participate in the discourse. It's a trap.

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Yes! Also in the current discourse, people without certain problems are to blame for all the evils of the world, so it’s even more tempting to embrace your problems, rather than fix them and take on that absurd responsibility.

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Yes yes yes!

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Yes, exactly.

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I have a significant depression that’s inherited and one of the best things I did for myself was to get testing and really understand what my thought patterns are. I use cognitive reframing to deal with what happens for me when I go down certain roads and I just think people would benefit a lot from that but you don’t get that online because everyone’s just reinforcing your feelings. I also take a lot of medication because that totally helps.

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Identify is such a flattened analytic in academia, when it should be exceedingly nuanced. I’m left as shit, but not by the metrics of contemporary orthodoxy which views itself as representative of marginal perspectives. Orthodoxy for them means any perspective that is counter of their politics. All dissent is “reactionary “. It is performance..of increasingly meaningless platitudes but this gives us some insight into the failures of both ideology as a stand in for culture and ideological critique, who’s practitioners are simply mirrors of their site of analysis. It is very demoralizing when you have put so much work into thinking and voluntarily spend upwards of a decade and a half on professionalizing yourself.

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The thing that really drives me nuts about trigger warnings is that it’s often just for a mention of a topic. People act as if the mention of someone attempting suicide is super dangerous. Meanwhile there have been times when I’ve been completely blindsided by someone describing their suicidal ideation in great detail (which personally is sometimes something I don’t need in my life as a person).

That and trigger warnings that there is murder and violence in podcast about murder. Like if we’re listening to “serial killer of the week now with more blood” one would hope we’re expecting murder to be mentioned. (Like yes when a specific episode is about a kid dying when that’s not the usual topic a head’s up is down. But so many of them are like this murder podcast has mentions of murder so be aware).

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Mar 6, 2023·edited Mar 6, 2023

I think if I were a professor, I'd just issue a blanket trigger warning on the first day of class like "Warning, there may be triggers in this class. Please withdraw if that is a sensitive subject for you."

*edit*

And I don't know...a name like "serial killer of the week now with more blood" seems like a sufficient trigger warning for just about anything that might be covered.

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It seemed like this was the norm when I was in school (2003–07), but back then the beginning-of-semester warning was always given in a spirit of “…so if you’re an EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN who can’t handle REALITY, it’s time to DROP THE CLASS, lololololol”

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Co-sign. Your experience exactly matches mine in academia/too-many-degrees world.

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I am Indian, and kids were shitty to me because of Apu. It was odd because kids are universally shitty, but they often repeated racist jokes and comments from their parents.

That being said, Jesse is right. Last year, I looked up my former bullies on social media, and I can confirm that I came out on top :D

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I'm 22 so for me it was more Baljeet from Phineas and Ferb that kids used to mock me, but I did see some of the Simpsons and I found Apu to be a really interesting character. Flattening him as a stereotype does him a disservice he's a hardworking first generation immigrant who has a hot wife, yes he has an accent and works at a convenience stores but many first gen Indian-Americans have accents and a lot of them worked at convenience stores and fast food joints.

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I’ve always hated the Simpsons, but from the little I’ve seen of it, Apu seemed like the only remotely likable character, FWIW.

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In the vast majority of simpsons episodes Apu is the most normal person in the room other than lisa.

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Lisa is not normal. Flanders is the normal one, if anyone is.

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Isn't Flanders like unreasonably polite though?

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founding

He's tolerant. But occasionally loses it with Homer's bullshit.

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That sucks but I'm glad you're doing well now. I grew up in a small town in West Virginia. Apu and the related stereotype just confused me, because the dads of all the Indian kids I knew were doctors.

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Did you see the movie? They talked about kids making fun of him due to Apu, but also making fun of the guy at 7-11 or tech support. It is sooo hard because I think 1) kids are awful and 2) in a lot of places the only Indian person a white person might meet is the guy at the counter.

Do you think if Apu had been voiced by an Indian or Indian American actor, things would be different? I am not sure. I think it would be different if Apu had just been, like, a dude in tv. Still. The problem is that in many places, the only Indian person might be the guy at 7 11. And Apu definitely played up to that stereotype.

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No, I didn't watch the movie, maybe I'll check it out. I agree, the voice actor was not the problem. The problem was that the character was a caricature/stereotype.

Unfortunately, it wasn't just kids being awful, as I recall kids telling me racist things that their parents had said. It's a sad truth but a lot of children learn racism from their parents.

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Akaash Singh has a different perspective on Apu: https://youtu.be/I5pVVmcSXVU

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Were they shitty to you because of Apu or were they shitty and used Apu as one of the ways to be shitty?

I can see a situation in which Homer is used as a proxy to the stereotypical entitled, dumb, slovenly working class white guy to make fun of white kids.

But it doesn't mean the characters are racists. Only that racists and bullies can latch onto any character and use as a mental cudgel.

Lisa to make fun of smart girls, beevis and butthead to make fun of poor white kids, Apu, Fat Albert...so many examples.

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Let me try to explain. If the only character(s) of a race or group is portrayed as a racial stereotype... the portrayal is racist. I don't think Homer is the only white (well, yellow, haha) character in the Simpsons, so this is not an appropriate comparison. When people watch the Simpsons, they do not come away with the impression that all white people are slovenly, dumb, and working class, because Homer is not the only white character on the show. There are a variety of depictions of white characters.

It appeared that kids were shitty because their parents were racist, and then watching racist depictions on TV upheld the racism taught to them by their parents. (So, both kids were shitty and they used Apu to be shitty)

In my original comment I was talking about “LiVeD ExPeRiEnCe” more so than hypotheticals.

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This issue really hit home for me. I have struggled with health anxiety for a while as I’ve got older it’s increased and started to really affect me in a negative way. I’ve been to cbt therapy a few times and it always oiled down to doing the homework. I got motivated enough to skip the therapy (because I already now what the therapist will say). And got my own cbt workbook and have done the work. It has helped immensely within a month. Jesse, you’re right…cbt shows your cognitive dissonance and helps you reframe thought patterns. It has truly worked wonders.

As to your thoughts about mass “depression, psychosis” I see this everyday in public schools as a teacher. Students and faculty are basically bludgeoned with “trauma is everywhere, the world will end due to climate change” etc. The kids are fucking depressed.

I would not downplay the negative consequences of electronics. I see so many kids that are literally ADDICTED to their phones…nothing else matters. We try to make phone plans for students and they absolutely lose their shit. It’s like watching a drug addict missing a fix. I don’t want to sound hyperbolic, but I’m an truly worried about the future of our youth because I see it everyday. At some point (and this is crazy and it could go really wrong) legislation or regulations are going to have to placed on electronic devices for children. I don’t know what, but I truly think it HAS to happen or our society is going to crash.

Also don’t discount group think or mass hysteria..all one has to do is go back and read memoirs of of extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds..it is a thing. I believe kids are more depressed today because they are being bombarded from so many different directions. I also truly believe that kids ARE being gaslighted into thinking they are depressed and traumatized and the world is just a giant ball of shit.

Anyway sorry for the rant, it this episode really hit home for me more than any other I’ve listened to. Thanks JK!

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"I also truly believe that kids ARE being gaslighted into thinking they are depressed and traumatized and the world is just a giant ball of shit."

This is incredibly sad but the last part of what you said made me brain immediately go to Monty Python. https://youtu.be/jHPOzQzk9Qo?t=103

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I read somewhere that song is now one of the most requested at funerals.

Just clicking on it cheered me up.

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Mar 5, 2023Liked by Lexer

"it is hip to project misery" was a missed opportunity to say "it's hip to despair".

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Mar 4, 2023Liked by Lexer

The Unicorn Ranch story reminds me of this: https://medium.com/@sefashapiro/a-community-warning-about-ziz-76c100180509#6cc9

It's a cult of transwomen that split off from the rationalist community, and is now suspected in several murders and faked deaths.

Any chance we can get Jesse and Katie to do a story on them?

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Funny you should mention that...

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Mar 5, 2023·edited Mar 5, 2023

An episode? Jeez, there's a freaking Netflex miniseries down there.

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None of these people sound very rational.

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“Somni stabbed the landlord in the back with a sword”-- holdup now. 😶

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Some more of the Tranch's greatest hits:

The "barn" that was just a metal skeleton with a tarp over it

One of them saw that their car's tires were deflated and thought it was an assassination attempt

They had a vicuna, an untameable animal that's related to alpacas and can breed with them. He kept getting out of his enclosure to mate with the females; they named him Pepe LePew

They ended up with more alpacas than they expected because they didn't separate them by sex when they started out

There were piles of alpaca dung everywhere

They actually banned NPR from the ranch because they didn't like the story they ran about them

Someone could write a great book about this someday.

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"They ended up with more alpacas than they expected because they didn't separate them by sex when they started out."

Wait, sex isn't irrelevant after all? Morons. [Gordon Ramsay "I am an idiot sandwich" GIF.]

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Whaaat? They really know nothing about alpaca husbandry if they weren't separating by sex. Male alpacas will repeatedly mate with any female they can-- even if they're gelded-- and can do serious damage and even kill females in the process. The tip of their penis is made of cartilage and can damage the female reproductive tract if allowed to continuously mate. More info on that:

https://www.shambalahalpaca.com/article/1303/why-male-and-female-alpacas-must-be-kept-separately

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I think I need to go back to bed after reading that.

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Mar 5, 2023·edited Mar 5, 2023

Just wait until you hear about alpaca male berserker syndrome. 😬

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🤨

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Son of a friend was manager at a petting zoo that had a horny alpaca. He got attacked by it. He shot and killed it.

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Pepe LePew? Jeez, promote rape culture much?

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Mar 4, 2023Liked by Lexer

They were waiting for them to announce their genders.

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Bravo

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It was a specific type of ignorance, that when people who had knowledge about farming offered them advice they threw it back in their faces. All they wanted was money. They most likely picked Alpaca because keeping animals for human consumption would have attracted regulatory attention.

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Maybe the alpacas all identified as non-binary, or the natal males all identified as female alpacas and demanded to be housed according to their gender identity. Cuz nothing could go wrong in that scenario, now could it?

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I’m sure it was the latter.

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Going to the first half of the pod, I highly recommend a long, wartime essay by George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn. It's online here: https://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/lion/english/. So much of it rings true today. His take on his contemporaries on the left still seems brutally apt:

The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power. Another marked characteristic is the emotional shallowness of people who live in a world of ideas and have little contact with physical reality. Many intellectuals of the Left were flabbily pacifist up to 1935, shrieked for war against Germany in the years 1935-9, and then promptly cooled off when the war started. It is broadly though not precisely true that the people who were most ‘anti-Fascist’ during the Spanish Civil War are most defeatist now. And underlying this is the really important fact about so many of the English intelligentsia – their severance from the common culture of the country.

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Bravo! I thought of another Orwell essay on progressive intellectual misery, “Can Socialists Be Happy?”

https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/can-socialists-be-happy/

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Great find, I haven't read that one yet. Orwell has another long essay on Charles Dickens that transformed the way I think of his work and helped make me a committed Dickens fan. Orwell is of course over-invoked by everyone, but by god the man had insight and could write.

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OMG where has this essay been all my life?! Brilliant.

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It's one of his best, full of great passages. Surprisingly funny too.

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Orwell is absolutely wonderful. His "Notes on Nationalism" is an enduring classic: https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/notes-on-nationalism/.

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Merch idea: one of those ampersand Helvetica shirts that says some combination pf “Katie & Jesse & Moose & Trace & Lexer”.

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Mar 5, 2023Liked by TracingWoodgrains

Honestly they should just hold a t-shirt design contest. We're the ones who'll be buying it anyway

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Not a bad idea! We're discussing it.

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Mar 6, 2023·edited Mar 6, 2023

I look forward to hearing about the t-shirt design contest that someone on the subreddit suggested 😉

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Unironically, yes

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Yessssss please

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It always ruffles my bumpers when elite people go out to the country and make no attempt to be neighborly or learn the local culture. I lived for a time in the most remote and least populated county in Ohio. I stuck out like a sore wart, but the people by and large were always gracious and friendly. I ended up working in the local hardware store. This solidified my spot in the community and I have never been so happy. I don’t want to romanticize my experience, it had some really lonely parts too. But the humility of being an outsider in a place different from my own led me to become an anthropologist. What I get from this Unicorn story is the hubris of identity politics.

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Mar 5, 2023Liked by Lexer

Note how depression among all youth trends upward in 2014, right when Rupi Kaur’s first poetry collection comes out

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I do think that neurotic people are more attracted to liberal spaces/ideas, and I also think that liberal media outlets and influencers engage in exactly the type of catastrophizing/polarization/personalization and other cognitive distortions that are bad for people who are prone to anxiety and depression. I have 100% witnessed this in my own family.

Regarding kids, I also wouldn't discount that a lot of liberals I know feel that their kids can "handle" tough topics that are maybe not developmentally appropriate. (I'm not saying that conservatives don't also do this or that they don't sometimes go too far in the other direction, I've just noticed it more amongst liberals.) I've also seen a lot of labeling normal kid behavior as "racist," "sexist," or pathologizing it as a sign of developmental difficulties when professionals feel the kid is fine. (Often, going to more and different professionals until you find one who is willing to dx your kid with autism, ADHD, OCD, etc is framed as "advocacy")

Example: paraphrasing, a mom posts in a group, "My 6 year old son said that boys only get married to girls. How can I make him less homophobic?" Or "Can anyone help me with my preteen daughter who isn't showering enough?" "She probably has ADHD."

Perhaps these ways of talking about kids and understanding them don't filter down to the kid and cause anxiety at the very least, but based on what I've seen I doubt it.

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I totally hear what you're saying, and I don't think we need to restrict it to white kids. The whole privilege concept is just like original sin, and kids who are steeped in these ideas totally ruminate on their own privileges (and try to seek solace in identifying as oppressed) even if they're members of minority groups. Believing that you're irredeemably prejudiced because of things you can't control (race, sex, parents' SES, zip code, whatever) is a recipe for mental health issues, which the left used to understand when kids were taught by religion that they were irredeemably sinful because they had "impure thoughts" or whatever.

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I think the “white privilege” discourse is also counterproductive in a way that’s dangerous, long term. However many white people accept the label “privileged” (or at least pretend to), even more will feel something closer to white pride. It’s certainly not a good development, but it’s a pretty natural one.

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Since a substantial number of Germans from formerly-German eastern areas like Silesia and Prussia were actually Germanized Slavs or Balts, 23andMe might be lying to you.

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Things I would likely buy - a Blocked & Reported branded mug, with "...we'll get to that" written on the other side.

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To sit next to the “Ehh... It’s complicated...” mug on the shelf, surely?

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I’d buy that too! Good mug idea.

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I just listened to this episode. These unicorn ranch people all sound mentally unwell & I think it’s completely irresponsible for media outlets to put them on a pedestal because they’re trans. I don’t understand how anyone can look at people giving lists of diagnoses, mostly self-diagnoses at that, and think “these are the Chosen Ones.”

Are there ANY examples of people in the trans community that aren’t walking disasters? People to hold up as examples in their minds when they bring their kids to gender clinics? Even the most well known one, Jazz, is a hot mess -- & a student at Harvard somehow. (Watched recent episode & Jazz is completely different talking to kids on social media about how awesome transition is -- and then it cuts to him having a mini breakdown before his Munchy mom comes in to take advantage of his vulnerability to manipulate closeness.)

Everything I said is judgmental. I know. I’m tired of being told by left-leaning people that more kids identifying with a mentally unwell group of people is a sign of a healthy civilization.

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I think there are people in the trans community who are normal, but they're living their lives and not chronically online. Their activism extends to voting blue, giving some money to the Trevor project, and making a post on National Coming Out Day or Trans Day of Awareness.

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Mar 6, 2023·edited Mar 6, 2023

Also Corinna Cohn and Buck Angel seem pretty normal and well-adjusted

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Uhhhh. I like Buck Angel, and bless him, but he’s a pretty extreme dude and I don’t think he would call himself “normal”. Kind, generous, bravely outspoken: yeah. But normal…

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The first person I was ever aware of as being trans was a university administrator (sounds like a red flag already) in Australia. This person was perfectly pleasant and more helpful than the average admin there (it's hard to believe how incompetent that school is). This person wore dresses and had long hair and didn't really register to me as being unusual until there was some kind of trans awareness day talk poster up and I saw this person's name on it.

Maybe this person is deep into trans ideology, but I get the sense that a lot of ideological craziness is mostly and American phenomenon.

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"I get the sense that a lot of ideological craziness is mostly and American phenomenon." Certainly on brand for our nation, I'll admit.

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There are plenty of perfectly ordinary trans people, but they're not perpetually online, so unless you happen to run into them, you wouldn't know. I play in a gay hockey league and there are lots of trans players; almost all of them are perfectly normal, very nice people. (Of course, there are a couple of seriously mental ill people, but any sufficiently large "inclusive" organization is eventually going to get one or two of those.)

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